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Cambodian-Americans Protest Outside White House

Cambodian Americans are protesting at the White House against violence in Cambodia and demanding the release of 23 union leaders and workers, and reelection. (Men Kimseng VOA, VOA Khmer)
More than 500 Cambodian-American protesters gathered outside the White House in Washington on Monday, demanding the release of 23 detained protesters still being held in a remote facility in Cambodia.

The arrests were part of a violent crackdown on protesters earlier this month that left at least five people dead and another 40 injured.

“We are strongly against violence committed by Hun Sen’s army, which kills our people and workers,” said Rany Lushenski, an organizer. “We are very concerned about these indiscriminate and merciless killings.”

The White House protest is one of a number of ongoing demonstrations in the US by Cambodians, while demonstrations in Cambodia continue as well.

Protesters wore white ribbons on their arms and heads in a symbol of mourning, while calling for international and US intervention in Cambodia’s ongoing political deadlock and subsequent demonstrations.

Opposition supporters behind the demonstrations say July’s national election was marred by fraud, and they have called for a recall vote and for Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down.

Cheang Sam Ath, a protester from Philadelphia, Penn., said a recall election was the only peaceful way through the current political crisis, and he urged Hun Sen to hold a vote “in a democratic way.”

“If he is confident that he still has popular support, then I believe that he would dare to have a reelection,” Cheam Sam Ath said. “But it’s not so, and that’s why he still clings to power.”